Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version



Published in Great Plains Quarterly FALL 1988. Copyright 1988 Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


This attractive book is perhaps the only one that has been written on the ecology of a single prairie study area; earlier classics such as J. E. Weaver's North American Prairie have dealt with North American prairies in general, and more recent titles, such as Terry Evans' Prairie: Images of Ground and Sky and Patricia Duncan's The Prairie World have typically attempted to show the often subtle and occasionally stark visual beauty of prairies, with an emphasis on color photography. By comparison, Konza Prairie approaches its subject (a protected area of about fourteen square miles in northern Kansas) as a series of extended natural history chapters, interposing short essays on some basic principles and processes such as evolution, fire, competition, and photosynthesis with descriptions of specific ecological patterns, such as grasslands, forests, soil, and streams. This interesting dichotomy, which is highlighted by printing the essays on basic processes in italics, makes for an innovative approach and convenience in locating particular kinds of discussion.